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Thinking School

We were delighted to receive the news in January 2024 that our application for the award of ‘Thinking School Status’ by the University of Exeter has been approved. This formal accreditation by a national awarding body recognises the work we do in school to develop the tools our pupils need to become lifelong learners and set them up for a successful independent life. You can read the report that accompanied the award below:



A Thinking School can be defined as one where all members of the educational community share a common commitment to giving regular, careful thought to everything that takes place. This involves learning how to think reflectively, critically and creatively, and to employ these skills and techniques in the construction of a meaningful curriculum and associated activities. Successful outcomes will be reflected through pupils across a wide range of abilities demonstrating independent and cooperative learning skills, high levels of achievement, and both enjoyment and satisfaction in learning.

To help achieve these aims, we use ‘Thinking Frames’ in all year groups and all subjects at the school. These frames are a set of dual coding, graphic organisers that offer our pupils a way to improve their knowledge recall and to recognise, develop and reflect on their own cognitive processes. A separate frame exists for eight key thinking processes that are the fundamental scaffolds behind a pupil’s ability to answer examination questions, solve problems and develop ‘higher order’ thinking.

We also make extensive use of Bloom’s Taxonomy, a hierarchical system that ranges from basic thinking skills to the ability to evaluate via judgements and solutions. We believe this is an effective tool in helping pupils to become deeper and more critical thinkers, as well as developing the level of challenge for them. Each academic department has designed their own subject-specific taxonomy to help pupils develop the deeper thinking skills they need across the full range of the curriculum.

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